Three arrested in connection with an international bribery schem - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Three arrested in connection with an international bribery scheme

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Criminal complaints unsealed in San Diego Tuesday charge a Navy commander, an official with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the head of a multinational defense-contracting firm with bribery schemes involving hundreds of millions of dollars in defense contracts.

According to the allegations, Leonard Glenn Francis, chief executive officer of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., paid Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II with luxury travel and the services of prostitutes in exchange for confidential information and other assistance related to Navy contracts.

Francis, 58, Misiewicz, 46, and Beliveau, 44, were arrested Monday in San Diego, Colorado and Virginia, respectively. The defense executive, a Malaysian national who lives in Singapore, made his initial appearance in federal court Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford.

Prosecutors will seek to extradite Misiewicz, a resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Beliveau, of Woodbridge, Va., to San Diego to face the charges, according to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California.

The corporation Francis leads has headquarters in Singapore and also operates in other countries, including Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the United States, according to court officials.

GDMA provides the U.S. Navy with extensive "husbanding" services, which include providing ships and submarines arriving at port with tugboats and fenders; paying harbor and customs fees; furnishing security and transportation; supplying provisions, fuel and water; removing trash and collecting liquid waste.

Misiewicz is assigned to U.S. Northern Command, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Before taking the command, he served as deputy operations officer for U.S. Commander, Seventh Fleet, aboard the USS Blue Ridge.

In the prior post, Misiewicz had high-level exposure to the operational planning for ships in the Seventh Fleet. Its area of operations consists of 48 million square miles extending from Japan to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and from Vladivostok, Russia to Australia. He also had influence in determining or modifying the schedule of port visits for U.S. Navy vessels, according to court documents.

Beliveau has had access to the NCIS's internal database containing investigative documents, including reports related to an investigation into possible fraud by GDMA in billing the U.S. Navy under its contracts.

According to one of the criminal complaints, Misiewicz facilitated a bribery conspiracy by sending Francis information that the Navy had classified as confidential, including schedules reflecting the movements of Navy ships months in advance.

Misiewicz also allegedly operated as an advocate within the Navy for GDMA's interests, urging decisions about port visits and contractor usage that were designed to benefit the contracting firm.

In return, according to prosecutors, Francis provided Misiewicz with paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services. Court documents allege that Misiewicz set up a special personal email account with a name that included Francis' initials in order to be able to communicate with him privately.

A separate complaint accuses Beliveau and Francis of entering into a separate bribery conspiracy in which the naval agent allegedly secretly downloaded NCIS reports about a criminal fraud investigation into GDMA and gave them to the executive.

Beliveau also allegedly provided Francis guidance as to how to deal with investigators' inquiries. In exchange, Francis provided Beliveau with, among other things, paid travel, luxury hotel stays and access to prostitutes, according to prosecutors.

Each defendant has been charged with conspiring to commit bribery, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

During the next court date in the case, scheduled for Friday morning, U.S. Magistrate Judge William McCurine Jr. will consider whether Francis should be detained as a flight risk, according to prosecutors. The defendant will remain in custody without bond pending the hearing.

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